GFAR blog

Putting the case for more investment on the table


Many researchers discuss innovative funding mechanisms to increase finance for agricultural research. Then again, what are the expectations around the impact of investment in agricultural research and innovation that need to be placed on the table?

At the High Level Policy Dialogue in Bangkok earlier this month, Chris Jackson, Lead Economist on Agriculture Global Practice at the World Bank, described Vietnam’s agricultural miracle. Vietnam shifted from being “Agri-Based” to a “Transition” country in 15 years. Increased productivity, especially in rice production, has been a main driver and has had a major impact on poverty.

There are many factors behind that success, like strong political commitment, a policy-enabling environment, higher educated researchers, cooperation and partnership with CGIAR, private investment in research and development and official development assistance.

But Vietnam’s expenditure on agricultural research and development continues to be less than 0.2% of agricultural GDP. Is this still enough, while financing from ODA declines and the export market of rice is changing? If not, how much more is needed and where the money will come from?

These questions also featured in discussion with Dr Bounthong Bouahom, Director General of the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI) of Lao PDR.

Laos spent only 8.8 billion PPP dollars (in 2011 prices), or less than 0.20 percent of agricultural GDP, on agricultural research in 2014. Dr Bounthong believes that will increase, if evidence on internal rate of return to expenditure in agricultural research and its effects on poverty incidence are provided to policy makers. But there is a problem with a lack of evidence and a lack of know-how to conduct the analysis.

Dr Bounthong agreed with other researchers’ views on innovative funding mechanisms, especially on partnerships. He hopes to learn more about private sector and civil society partnerships. His next priority will be to start building NAFRI’s knowledge partnership with APAARI.


Blogpost and picture by Dalaphone Sihanath, #GCARD3 Social Reporter – D.Sihanath(at)

This post is part of the live coverage during the #GCARD3 Regional Consultation for Asia and Pacific region. This post is written by one of our social reporters, and represents the author’s views only.

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